After the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, 32-year-old pop star Lily Allen has used her public platform to speak out about the neglect and greed that caused this disaster. On the surface, this all seems fine. After all, Lily Allen is a high profile celebrity with a huge social media following who comes from the area. However, one of many reasons working class people constantly get ignored and undermined is because middle class people insist on trying to become the face of the working class when in reality, they can never fully grasp the struggle of work meaning the difference between life and death.

Lily Allen is by no standards a working class individual. She was privately educated and born to comedian Keith Allen who presented a small number of TV shows and film producer Alison Owen who was involved in the production of hugely successful films such as Me Before You, Saving Mr Banks and Shaun of the Dead. In 1998, when Allen was just a teenager, Owen produced Elizabeth in which daughter Lily was gifted a small role. From an early age, Allen was set up to succeed in life. While she was still at school, she was given roles in films and TV episodes that were conveniently co-produced by either of her parents and she had some incredibly high profile connections. The fact she was expelled from numerous schools before dropping out early, sold ecstasy in Ibiza and has often been in trouble does not make her a working class individual. Her poor behaviour in her early life does not change the fact that she had more opportunities than the average person does.

The issue is not that Lily Allen is speaking out for working class people – that is good. The problem lies with the media labelling her as some sort of working class hero when she is very clearly middle class. She may have lived on a council estate but her other privileges outweigh that. If it wasn’t already obvious that she does not have the same burdens that the working class do, this is what she said to Miranda Sawyer in an interview with the Guardian:

“She [Allen] figured out that if she did ‘the whole school thing’ and went to university, she’d spend a third of her life preparing to work for the next third of her life, to set herself up with a pension for the next third of her life. ‘and [she] was just like, “F*ck that, I’d like to make f*ck-loads of money and then retire by the time I’m 30, please!”

Working class people just cannot afford to think like this.

How many of the Grenfell Tower victims and those who live in surrounding areas can rest assured that they will retire at thirty instead of spending a ‘third’ of their lives working? Whether Allen realises it or not, she is a very privileged woman who will never be the face of the working class no matter how hard she tries to speak and act like it.

We can support what Lily Allen is trying to do for the victims of Grenfell but we must all be aware of the fact that she is not one of us. For every Lily Allen, there are dozens of working class people who could represent the Grenfell victims twice as well if they were only given the chance.